Boxing Champ Calls 9-Year Contract Illegal
LOS ANGELES (CN) - Super-middleweight world champion boxer Andre Ward sued his promoter, claiming his nine-year contract violates California labor laws.
Ward, 29, of Oakland, an Olympic gold medalist, sued Goossen Tutor Promotions, of Sherman Oaks, in Superior Court.
Ward asks a judge to free him from a contract that he claims violates the seven-year limit on personal services contracts, so he can "better provide" for his four children and wife.
Ward's manager Dan Goossen, the owner of Goossen Tutor Promotions, is not named as an individual defendant.
Ward says he's been with Goossen Tutor without interruption throughout his 10-year career, and first signed with the promoter in 2004 under a five-year contract.
A few months before the agreement was due to expire in late 2009, Ward says, he agreed to extend his contract for five fights over the next two years, until Dec. 17, 2011.
Before his fifth bout, in the spring of 2011, Goossen Tutor signed Ward to another contract that kicked in after a fight last year, according to the lawsuit. Ward claims that unless the court intervenes, he will be forced to fight for the promoter until "well into 2016."
"Ward's 2004, 2009, and 2011 agreements with GTP [Goossen Tutor Promotions] constitute a continuous, uninterrupted contractual relationship for personal services of more than nine years, during which Ward has been exclusively bound to GTP and prevented from contracting to fight for any other promoter," the lawsuit states.
To support his claim for declaratory relief under the California Labor Code, Ward cites Oscar De La Hoya's virtually identical claim against Top Rank. In that case, the court found that De La Hoya's contract with his promoter was void, Ward says.
Ward is the World Boxing Association super-middleweight champion, with a 27-0-0 record and 14 knockouts. He won a gold medal for the U.S. at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.
He is represented by Alan Rader.
Dan Goossen did not immediately respond to a request for comment.